321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

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INTRO

Rehearsal For Truth Theater Festival / play (Poland) 01 October, 2017 - 7:00 PM

[Bohemian National Hall]

 

The play INTRO draws inspiration, recognition and nervous melancholy from the undying spirit of the Dada movement, which - as its Apostles used to say - was, is and will be. Part of Rehearsal for Truth, a unique festival presenting the best in Central European theater, organized under the auspices of Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, and Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic.

 

99 years after the emanation of Dada in Zurich (AD 1916), accompanied by the scent of blood from the trenches of Verdun, national exultation and the revelations of Fatima - Azazel or whatever he happens to be called by the Talmudists or the Islamists - it debuted in Poland. Under the wings of Azazel, Poland has become a thesis, synthesis and antithesis at the same time. Under the authority of Azazel, there is a growing conviction in a Pole that ONE means more than MANY. Dada Theatre, inspired by the spirit of dada, is going to rip the veil off it and reveal the deadly face of the Angel of Death; it is going to laugh in the face of the Angel of Death. Dada von Bzdulow Theatre in the play INTRO, both mockingly and desperately, shouts out: Dada is Polska!!! The shouting and dance of Dada von Bzdulow Theatre is accompanied by a musical band Nagrobki (Gravestones).

 

Presented by The Dada von Bzdulow Theatre. Choreography and performance by Katarzyna Chmielewska, Katarzyna Ustowska, Leszek Bzdyl and Piotr Stanek. See the trailer >>.

 

The show will be performed in Polish with English subtitles. A talk-back after the show with the performers and creators, introduced by Anna Galas-Kosil, Raszewski Theatre Institute.

Afterparty reception at Bohemian National Hall Ballroom Bar.

 

venue
Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10021

 

7:00 - 9:00 PM. Free and open to the public. Seats are limited, on first come, first served basis. Reserve your seat online at eventbrite.

 

Rehearsal for Truth is organized by Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and BBLA, in partnership with Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak performing arts institutions and cultural institutes to highlight Havel’s legacy as a playwright through live performances, panel discussions, exhibitions and an award ceremony. It seeks to establish exchanges between U.S. and Central European theater professionals. The festival reflects not only Havel’s contribution to 20th century theater but also his belief in the potential of Central European cultural traditions to enrich human existence in the modern age.

 

“What matters is not whether a play is light-hearted or serious, but––be it comedic or otherwise––whether it speaks to people about their problems, how it speaks to them, what impact it has on them… We wish only to put on plays that meet certain standards of urgency, that are intellectually penetrating, complex, challenging, and powerful.”
                                                            -- Vaclav Havel, The Kind of Theater We Want to Do, from a letter to Alfred Radok, August 4, 1963

 

The organizers have tapped into the existing Central European theater network to bring the region’s distinctive contemporary cultural perspective to New York stages. The selection of the four productions was guided by recommendations from Theatre Institutes in each country and the Polish Cultural Institute. Over 25 partners have joined forces with the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and BBLA to launch this festival in 2017. The festival was also made possible by grants from The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and funded in part by a grant from the NYC & Company Foundation.

 

REVIEWS

"Intro" with absurd black humour, desacralizing it all, can do more than all reasonable discussions infested with scientific arguments together. A concoction of red and white symbols, sharp sounds of vuvuzelas, explosives, Polish Green-legged chickens, demonic Muslim women, all of that makes us find certain distance that the present reality seems to lack so much. Yet, it is a provocation for provocation, as dictates uninhibited by anything imagination of dadaists. Because first and foremost "Intro" is a challenge, faced by all our myths.

-- Anna Jazgarska, Teatralny pl

 

"Intro" is not a lightweight performance, easy and enjoyable. It entices with dance attraction and originality in choreographic exploration of expression, but leaves the viewer many a times in a dark alley, where you can't know whether still laugh or already start being serious. It enters into a discussion on national identity, and shows how little space for freedom remains, when xenophobia comes along with total disengagement, mistakenly defined as tolerance. Can "Intro" thus, with its ironic and grotesque message, take a stand in this difficult and uncomfortable social discourse? Further than the wall we cannot go, but the plaster may start chipping off.

 -- Anna Kołodziejska, Teatralia

 

INTERVIEW

An Interview with Leszek Bzdyl, Fo-founder of Dada von Bzdülöw Theater


What is your role in the production and how long have you been part of this show?

25 years ago, in December 1992, together with Katarzyna Chmielewska we founded Dada von Bzdülöw Theater, and for the past 25 years, I have been working on the program and artistic direction of the group. "INTRO" is a kind of performance that can be placed in the genre of so-called political theater. However, that's not a program rule of our theater. In our group's history we touched only upon some social or political issues a few times, in such shows as: STRATEGY, BARRICADE OF LOVE, LE SACRE.

 

What and/or who was the inspiration for the creation of this production?

INTRO was created in response to the growing acceptance of extreme national, nationalist and xenophobic declarations in the Polish public debate. In 2015, somehow in a futuristic way, we presented a monoculture psychosis that will have to be confronted by potential immigrants trying to settle down in Poland.

 

Why do you think the work aligns strongly with the theme of Rehearsal for Truth?

The legacy of the 1989 democratic revolution is very close to us. Our theater was created on that wave of freedom, also the one concerning the free artistic thought carried by the giants of those years, among them, of course, Vaclav Havel. Our performance naturally evokes irony, lightness, wittiness and freedom, that is the TRUTH, in the name of which the Eastern Block carried out the democratization process.

 

What is the core political issue you are grappling with in the play?

When we were making INTRO, the refugee problem wasn't yet so blown up by the politicians of the extreme right. By introducing the characters of a Jew, a Croatian nationalist, an Arab woman and a Chechen to the show, we thought of mocking the character of the Pole. The Pole is the one who happens to feel like the messiah of Europe, a Pole gazing at his or her national navel, and dreaming of the purity of Polish blood, and of shedding that blood on the altar of national church.

 

Who are your mentors? Where do you draw on your inspiration to create your work?

Intellectually, we are patronized by three Europeans: Witold Gombrowicz, Milan Kundera and Emil Cioran.

 

What is your favorite moment in the show?

All scenes! But one is somehow a quintessential event. The girl, who for 40 minutes of the show is dressed in a skirt and a top, barely covering her breasts, announces that she is from the Middle East. By force she is being dressed in a costume worn by women in the countries of religious fundamentalism. We are the ones who stigmatize those “others.”

 

Can you tell me a little about the chosen visual style of your production?

In the show we mix punk music with a musical, physical dance with dramatic acting. We overstep the boundaries of genre, thus keeping in line with the performing strategies developed over the years in our theater.

 

What are you most looking forward to about coming to New York City to perform?

I look forward to meetings and talks about the world that surrounds us or the hope for the future. Quoting "vojak Švejk" (soldier Svejk): "It is not fine. But you don't have to lose hope,” as the Gypsy Jankie said while they were hanging him in Pilsen and putting his head in a noose.


Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General